Showing posts with label Puerto Rico. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Puerto Rico. Show all posts

May 14, 2020

Child Hunger in Puerto Rico Has Become a Flashpoint


 

 

 It hadn't been easy, but before the pandemic Elia Gonzalez had always managed to keep her family fed by stretching her food stamps and her partner's modest income as a D.J. at bars around Puerto Rico's capital, San Juan. That changed in mid-March, when those bars closed and her daughter's school, where she'd gotten free breakfast and lunch, did too.

By April 20, the kitchen cabinet was almost empty. Gonzalez and her partner, who is undocumented and does not qualify for unemployment, went four days without eating so they'd have enough food for the children until Gonzalez's next monthly food stamps benefit landed on her EBT card in early May. Still, by the end of April, all she had left for the children was rice with a little egg mixed in.

Her sons, shy 4 and 5-year-olds, would ask for more. But her oldest, Angellia, a talkative, curly-haired kindergartener, tried to reassure her mother.

"She said, 'Mamá, I'm still hungry'," Gonzalez said, "but she told me it was okay because she was big and could wait until I got more food. That hit me hard."

A worker in Vega Alta, P.R. In March, the island's governor imposed strict lockdown measures to control the COVID-19 outbreak.
 
The coronavirus emergency has worsened hunger nationally, with recent polling finding that one in five U.S. households can't afford enough to eat. But Puerto Rico's rates of food insecurity have been higher than that since long before the pandemic. The U.S. territory has a higher poverty rate than any state.

A study by the Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics in 2015 found that 22 percent of adults reported skipping meals or eating smaller portions because they didn't have money for food. That was before the island's bankruptcy, a string of natural disasters, and now the coronavirus lockdown, which closed businesses but also the schools that provided two daily meals to a majority of Puerto Rico's schoolchildren. 




"And so it's not an exaggeration to say that hunger in Puerto Rico right now is probably much higher than it was in 2015," said José Caraballo-Cueto, an economist at the University of Puerto Rico's campus in the city of Cayey. He estimates that the pandemic has driven the island's unemployment rate to an astounding 46 percent. "And the average saving rate here is zero. So if you have a social crisis like this, people don't have that buffer during the lockdown."


People waited to pick up meals for their children at a public school cafeteria in Vega Alta, P.R., on May 6. The island's governor initially refused to open the cafeterias, but public pressure changed her mind.
 
In recent days, it's a fight over the shuttered school cafeterias that has brought the issue of hunger on the island – and specifically childhood hunger — into full view.

Governor Wanda Vázquez earned early praise for taking aggressive steps to combat the coronavirus. But after closing schools on March 16, she refused to allow their cafeterias to continue providing free lunches to children, as they have in most communities in the U.S. The governor initially said she feared exposing cafeteria workers to the virus. Many of those workers are older women.

But as the lockdown dragged on, as bureaucratic hurdles delayed the arrival of federal stimulus and unemployment payments, and as the local government struggled to process a surge in new food stamp applications, people's patience wore thin.

On social media, stories circulated about people like Elia Gonzalez who had run out of food for their children. One mother, Genesis Montañez, wrote to her son's teacher that all she had for her kids was water. Parents and politicians demanded the cafeterias reopen. Cafeteria employees said that with proper protective equipment, they were willing to go back to work. Activists sued and announced a protest of cars winding through the streets of San Juan.


Cafeteria workers packed food to go on the first day school lunch rooms were allowed to open nearly two months after the start of Puerto Rico's lockdown.
 
On April 29, the governor acquiesced, saying a limited number of cafeterias would be allowed to reopen the following week. The island's 78 mayors would coordinate delivery of the meals to children who needed them.

"Public opinion really forced the government to reconsider its decision and reopen the lunch rooms," said Denise Santos, president of the Puerto Rico Food Bank. She said that after the schools closed, she was inundated with more requests for food for children than the food bank could meet. "Most Puerto Ricans live from paycheck to paycheck, so eight weeks without any income made the situation very urgent for a lot of families."

The first 80 cafeterias opened on May 6, and it was a fitful start. Many mayors reported that the island's education department delivered far less food than they needed or had requested. Others, like the mayor of the coastal town of Loíza, postponed meal distributions until this week rather than risk having to turn children away. Several cafeteria workers screened for COVID-19 tested positive, delaying the opening of at least one kitchen.


In the the town of Vega Alta, workers prepared meals for 800 children. Mayors across the island have complained they aren't getting enough food for all the children who need it.
 
On Monday, the island's education secretary, Eligio Hernández, said his department had opened another 28 cafeterias this week and was preparing nearly 64,000 lunches a day. He also said families in some rural towns could sign up to have nonperishable food mailed to their homes. But criticism has not subsided.

"The government has only served 10 percent of children," said Giovanni Roberto, a prominent anti-hunger activist who runs a small network of community soup kitchens, known as comedores sociales. "Our demands are clear. Open all school cafeterias, and serve everyone who needs it."

In recent weeks, Roberto has been leading the calls to open the cafeterias. His profile was raised further when he was arrested on April 30 while leading the caravan of cars making their way through the streets of San Juan in protest. He was charged with violating the governor's stay-at-home order, but the arrest, broadcast on television, was widely criticized as unjustified. A judge dismissed the charges.


Giovanni Roberto leads a small network of community soup kitchens called comedores sociales. After he was arrested during an anti-hunger demonstration in late April, donations to the comedores surged.
 
The ordeal endeared many people in Puerto Rico to Roberto's cause. The community kitchens he runs with volunteers became an important source of food after Hurricane Maria, when the local and federal government failed to get supplies to people frantic for them. Since then, the comedores sociales have operated on shoestring budgets. But Roberto's recent prominence demanding the government do more to help Puerto Rico's poor during the pandemic has attracted tens of thousands of dollars in donations.

"We're improving our center to have a bigger warehouse," Roberto said. The main facility – a salvaged community center in the city of Caguas — has shifted to grocery giveaways rather than serving meals on site. "We've gotten a lot of support, so we've expanded from 200 weekly grocery deliveries to 700 this week."

Still, Roberto said that was not enough, and hoped the judge overseeing a lawsuit that advocates filed on behalf of several mothers will force the government to open more school cafeterias. A hearing in the case is scheduled for Friday. 

A man outside the site of a community kitchen — or comedor social — in the city of Caguas. The community kitchens became an important source of food after Hurricane Maria, when the local and federal governments failed to get supplies to people frantic for them. During the pandemic, the comedores have been providing free groceries.
 
Denise Santos, the food bank president, said the pandemic's economic fallout has elevated a conversation about hunger and poverty in Puerto Rico that politicians – and many citizens — prefer to avoid.

"Our politicians talk as if we were a first class country, and although there have been some programs in our history that have improved the middle class, in reality we are very poor. We always have been," Santos said. "But if you look at our Facebook page for the food bank, people comment that in Puerto Rico there is no hunger because everybody receives food stamps. People are in denial, period."

In the Río Piedras section of San Juan, Christel Galindez Garcia, a community leader, saw the hunger in her neighborhood start to balloon within days of the island's shutdown.

"Older people, immigrants, mothers with children," Galindez said. She has been picking up thirty cooked meals a day from a church near her home and delivering them to people's houses. She visits different families every day.

"Do you know when you know people are really in need?" she asked. "When you show up with a plate of food and they start to cry."


  
Community leader Christel Galindez Garcia (left), distributes cooked meals to people in need. On May 6, she also brought cupcakes to the home of Elia Gonzalez, whose daughter Angellia turned six that day.
 
One of the people Galindez visited last Wednesday was Elia Gonzalez, who said that the day before, she'd gone through the last of the rice and egg she had been feeding her three kids.

"Right now I have nothing in the kitchen," Gonzalez said. "Nothing, nothing."

Though some school cafeterias had distributed meals that day, she said none were close to her apartment, and she doesn't have a car. Her federal stimulus payment was nowhere in sight because the island's treasury secretary, charged with distributing that money on behalf of the federal government, has said that people receiving food assistance will be among the last to get it.

"And we're the ones who need that help the most," Gonzalez said. On the bright side, her monthly food stamps had just arrived, and that would let her restock her kitchen. Without her partner's income, she said, she could buy enough food for two to three weeks.

Wednesday was also her daughter Angellia's sixth birthday.

Christel Galindez, the community leader, knew this, and during her food delivery run, she drove up to Gonzalez's front door playing the birthday song through her car's speakers. She used a P.A. system to summon Angellia outside. The little girl emerged with a big smile, and spun a little pirouette to the music.

Galindez handed Gonzalez three to-go-containers of food and a box with three cupcakes, one for each of her children.

Erika P. Rodríguez contributed reporting from San Juan, P.R  

April 25, 2020

Most Puerto Ricans See Themselves As White Even if They are Brown, Whites Are Confused



Paintings by Jorlan. | Te extraño mi Puerto Rico
"I bring Borinqpen blood (Borinquen the originl name of the island given by Columbus), IAm the son of the Palm trees, of the land that sustain the rivers and the songs of el Coqui....of the valleys and the coffee plantations, of the sugar cane, the Pineapple and the guava, mampostiales of the tembleque and the mavi"   (translated by Adam, But need to come back and get the words in english for a couple I co
uld not remeber. MAVI IS THE TEA WHICH IS FERMENTED HANGING BY A TREE IN A BOTTLE OR EVEN BURIED IN THE GROUND UNTIL IT FERMENTS. IT IS MADE FROM THE MAVI TREE Bart.. My mom taught how to do t and I hope one day to make for a couple of you after this pandemic is undr control. Let me know if you are in NYC and interested.)
Understanding Racial-Ethnic Identity Development | EmbraceRace
 These are all the colors Puerto Ricans come in. Those are the ones born 9n the island which means they are more pure. What I don't see there are gingers (red ones). Otherwise the picture is well represented of the colors we come in.
       





What is your race?
It's a question the federal government asks us every 10 years at census time. But in the year 2000, that was a new question for the residents of Puerto Rico. For half a century before then, the U.S. territory's government had used its own, local census questionnaire – which did not ask about race. 
And so this new question took a lot of people on the island by surprise. The way they answered it shocked many Puerto Ricans, and revealed a lot about Puerto Rico's relationship with race, colonialism and the United States.
Taino Revival: Critical Perspectives on Puerto Rican Identity and ...

 In this episode of the Code Switch podcast, we'll dive in to try to understand why, on an island shaped by its African heritage and a long history of racial mixture, a vast majority of people tell the Census Bureau that they are white alone. We'll also hear what being largely invisible in the data has meant for black Puerto Ricans, and why some of them are mobilizing around the 2020 Census to try to change that.








March 8, 2020

30,000 Students in Puerto Rico Go Back To Schools in Tents



                         The bottom floor of the Agripina Seda school in Guánica, Puerto Rico, collapsed after one of the recent earthquakes there.



                        Image result for puerto rico school tents



PENUELAS, Puerto Rico — About 30,000 students in Puerto Rico’s southern region are going back to school Monday after a two-month delay caused by January’s earthquake. But with a high chance of another quake and the schools a long way from being rebuilt, students will be starting their semester in tents. 
In the wake of the Jan. 7 earthquake that devastated the island’s south and damaged 84 schools — roughly 10 percent of the island’s public schools — classes across the island were put on indefinite hold. Week by week, the Department of Education opened schools that hadn’t been damaged. But in Peñuelas, a city on the island’s southern coast where schools were severely damaged, teachers couldn’t wait for their schools to be repaired.

Odette Báez, a local school principal, and the teacher’s union set up La Escuela Pública Vive, a volunteer-led initiative run in a park that is meant to engage students while school is out of session. 
“We wanted them to continue with their educational processes and at the same time receive socio-emotional support so that they could know that we are still on our feet, despite everything,” Báez told VICE News. 
After weeks of the park initiative being in session, the Puerto Rico Department of Education announced its plan to resume classes in tents until it fully inspects the damaged schools. 
That process could take as much as two to three years, and in the meantime, students and teachers will carry on with limited schooldays ending after lunch, and the fear of more tremors. 
“Living in the south is like always being worried,” Yazel Ramos, a high school junior, said. “Even though the ground isn’t shaking, sometimes you feel like it is, and you get scared.”
The earthquake damage compounds the education system’s already pressing problems. As an economic recession and natural disasters forced hundreds of thousands of students to leave the island, nearly half of all public schools closed between 2006 and 2018, according to the Center for Puerto Rican Studies. And the earthquake has led more students to leave. Baez says that over 100 students have left her school alone since the earthquake.

March 3, 2020

Puerto Rico in Bunkers~~~Could This Take This Long in France or Florida?






Here is the set that was played at the La Isla Bonita 2 Fundraiser for Puerto Rican earthquake relief. It was an amazing night and I hope that this helps you relive it if you were there.
Listen, stream and share, but most of all DANCE!








GUÁNICA, P.R. — Nearly two months after an earthquake sent the population of southwest Puerto Rico rushing into the streets, thousands of people are still slumbering each night under camping tents, on cots, in their cars and in enormous open tents that serve as government shelters.

Long after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake sent powerful shock waves across the island on Jan. 7, the ground continues to shake. Over the past week, 43 earthquakes classified as “significant” have struck, according to the Puerto Rico Seismic Network, part of a prolonged and terrifying series of seismic events not seen on the island since 1918.  A house in the town of Guánica recently collapsed after a fresh 3.8 magnitude temblor.

And while most of the recent aftershocks have been relatively mild — only five over the past week exceeded 3.5 in magnitude — the cumulative damage and constant rattling have left many Puerto Ricans with their confidence deeply shaken.

Hundreds of families are unable to pay for repairs to their ravaged homes. Others are unwilling to trust government inspectors’ assurances that their houses are safe.
“I expected to be relocated to a trailer or a hotel,” said Pedro A. Ramírez, a 65-year-old war veteran who was still staying last week in a government shelter in Guánica with his wife, daughter and two grandchildren. “I am not expecting them to give me a house. But the only way to get assistance for food is by being here, so they force you to be here. It’s a trap.”

The number of earthquake survivors still living outdoors has surfaced as a tricky challenge for local and federal agencies that are struggling to find housing on an island where more than 8,000 homes are in need of an overhaul as a result of the temblors.

More than two years after Hurricane Maria brought devastation that in some places has still not been repaired, emergency management officials facing the latest natural disasters appear to lack cohesive strategies to keep survivors safe and are improvising as they go along, according to a number of local officials, legal advocates and academic analysts who are watching the response.

“If they learned anything from Hurricane Maria, they are not making it apparent,” said Yarimar Bonilla, an anthropologist at Hunter College who has spent extensive time in the camps. “Maybe they learned that they don’t have to do anything and people will sort it out because that’s what they are doing.”


Shelters were located in flood-prone areas, causing some of the dormitory-style tends to be flooded with mud, and more than 150 schools have yet to reopen.  Distrust of the government prompted many people to set up their own camps along busy roads rather than use shelters managed by the authorities.

Mr. Ramírez and his family stayed under a large, three-sided tent provided by the island government. He and his wife took turns keeping watch over their salvaged belongings while they waited to find out whether the Federal Emergency Management Agency would offer enough disaster aid to repair their damaged home. When their 12-year-old grandson had to go to the bathroom, Mr. Ramírez accompanied him: a registered sex offender from his neighborhood was also staying at the shelter.

After almost two months, the family finally gave up on waiting for federal assistance and went to a relative’s house.

“My granddaughter is asthmatic and spent the whole time at the camp coughing,” Mr. Ramírez’s wife, Nancy Santiago, said.

Out of the roughly 8,300 houses that were damaged in the Jan. 7 earthquakes, about 2,500 are uninhabitable, according to the Puerto Rico Department of Housing.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has so far allocated $20 million to about 8,500 applicants, most of that for home repairs and some to pay for rent.  More than 30,000 people applied.

But government officials insist that at least half of the people sleeping under the stars are responding not to structural damage to their homes, but to the emotional strain of frequent tremors. There were more than 3,000 quakes within about 20 miles of the epicenter of Puerto Rico’s quake in January alone, according to the Puerto Rico Seismic Network.

The U.S. Geological Service said the aftershocks will continue for “years to decades” and that there is up to a 30 percent chance of an aftershock as big as the Jan. 7 quakes.

“Fear is the greatest enemy we have right now,” said Elizabeth A.  Vanacore, a seismologist at the University of Puerto Rico.

 Maria Aquino, at her damaged home in Yauco, P.R., has been sleeping outside in a tent.



Maria Aquino, at her damaged home in Yauco, P.R., has been sleeping outside in a tent.
Calls to the island’s suicide hotline have soared to up to 1,600 a day, according to the government mental health agency.

“It keeps shaking and the cracks in the house open even more,” said  Edel Santiago, 39, who set camp in a parking lot with his wife, son and 73-year-old mother, who has Alzheimer’s disease.
He said his family was one of many who were denied aid because their homes were certified as safe, a ruling he disagreed with.

“They certified my house as green, even though it has big, ugly cracks,” Mr. Santiago said. “The guy from FEMA said I could not live there, then another inspector came and put a green sticker on it.”

FEMA sent inspectors to nearly 30,000 homes and gave green armbands to any shelter resident whose house passed, though they were still allowed to remain at the shelter. People who disagree with the safety assessment on their house are being offered money to hire structural engineers, said Alex Amparo, FEMA’s coordinator in Puerto Rico.

 Christian Marcial Santiago, 9, plays with his dog at a makeshift camp in Guánica.


Onelio Velezleft and Luis Febus work on one-room structures at an encampment in Yauco where 10 families have been living since January.

Luis Vargas Delgado in his new temporary house at the encampment in Yauco. He lost his home during the earthquake and was injured after falling from his bike after a strong tremor.

Luis Vargas Delgado in his new temporary house at the encampment in Yauco. He lost his home during the earthquake and was injured after falling from his bike after a strong tremor.
“You see the green armband, you know their house is OK, but there is an emotional fear they have,” he said. “At this point, our job is not really to judge them, but to help them through that.”
FEMA has spent more than $2 million to help Puerto Rico’s office of mental health services provide help to rattled residents, including counseling to reassure them that it is safe to go home if their house has passed inspection. Counselors are suggesting that some people may feel safer by sleeping in their living room near an escape route.

Despite the hundreds who remain in camps,  most people have returned home as the tremors have diminished in frequency, Mr. Amparo said.

“If I had 800 people sleeping outside last night, I have to get that to zero,” he said in late February.

The Puerto Rico government reported that fewer than 600 people remained outdoors in 24 different official and informal shelters as of last week. But that does not count a large number of people camping out on their own properties.

FEMA records obtained by The New York Times show that as of Feb. 25, the agency still showed more than 3,000 people living in “emergent” conditions, based on information provided in applications for federal aid. This included nearly 600 who said they were staying in their vehicles and 1,603 living in tents.  The bulk of the people outside their homes had been denied aid because they had insufficient damage to their homes or had insurance, the records show.

FEMA records also show that most people who received cash assistance got less than $500.

Students of the damaged Hipolito Garcia Elementary School in Yauco are expected to study in event tarps erected in a baseball field.

Students of the damaged Hipolito Garcia Elementary School in Yauco are expected to study in event tarps erected in a baseball field.
And although 1,000 families qualified for placement in hotels, just 157 of them have taken the government up on the offer, as people refuse to leave their neighborhoods, Mr. Amparo said.

 Students of the damaged Hipolito Garcia Elementary School in Yauco are expected to study in event tarps erected in a baseball field. 


Jenniffer Santos-Hernández, a research professor at the University of Puerto Rico who has visited the camps, said the authorities have not done enough to provide temporary housing near people’s homes. She visited one community that is building one-room shacks with metal roofs that she said to look like something from a shantytown.

“There is no sense of urgency,” she said. “These are inhumane conditions.”

William Rodríguez Rodríguez, Puerto Rico’s administrator of public housing, said the government’s response plan has been adjusted along the way to deal with problems as they arose. The biggest challenge, he said, has been dealing with a disaster that, unlike a hurricane, does not seem to end.

“This directly affects people’s spirit,” he said. “We are used to an event that once it passed, it’s over and we can recover. In this case, it’s a constant effort.”

Mr. Rodríguez Rodríguez said the Puerto Rico government — which is bankrupt — is offering a combination of options to those with damaged homes, including federal housing vouchers and public housing. There is enough housing supply for everyone, he said, but people in the hard-hit south are going to have a hard time if they insist on staying in their neighborhoods. 

“They have to be open to moving,” he said.

“We are blind, and only the government has eyes,” the leaders said in a statement.

 The 8x12 foot wooden homes with metal roofs will not be suitable for hurricane season, which begins in June

 “We feel safe,” Amelia Vélez said of the temporary wooden homes in the encampment. “But we have to have a Plan B.”


Rosita Leomaris Hernández, one of the leaders, said officials seem oblivious to the many obstacles people face: the waiting list for federal Section 8 housing assistance is often a year-long; apartment rentals require a year lease, and some of the hotels FEMA is using are too close to the epicenter of most of the quakes. People who earn more than $1,000 a month did not qualify for most aid, she said.

“What the people are demanding is help to rebuild their homes,” she said.

In Yauco, Amelia Vélez, 38, and a few dozen members of her family who are appealing their denials from FEMA for money to repair their homes are making do with 8- by 12-foot wooden structures with metal roofs that a local pastor built for them at the edge of a cliff. She likes her new digs but recognizes that hurricane season starts on June 1, and the structures are not suitable for storms.

“We feel safe,” she said among the hammering of nails. “But we have to have a Plan B.”


January 22, 2020

Angry Residents (Puerto Rico) Took To The Streets on Monday About The Government Warehouse Locked Up With Hurricane Supplies




Image result for govt warehouse full of Emergency goods in PR
 Gov. Wanda Vázquez fired the island's emergency director Saturday after the incident set off a social media firestorm.
                         


Angry residents took to the streets of Puerto Rico on Monday. 
Fury over the government's mishandling of disaster aid following a spate of devastating earthquakes earlier this month, coupled with the recent discovery of unused supplies — some dating back to Hurricane Maria — is driving frustrated demonstrators to the gates of the governor's mansion. 
Fed up with what they say is rampant corruption, they are demanding the resignation of Gov. Wanda Vázquez, who just months ago served as the island's Justice Secretary. 
"Where is Wanda? She's not here. She's busy hiding disaster supplies!" crowds shouted on Monday, reviving chants hurled by protesters over the summer, when the public forced Gov. Ricardo Rosselló out of office. 
His ouster led to months of political turmoil which Vázquez has struggled to overcome. 
But the latest round of political unrest, including the dismissal of several top cabinet members, began on Saturday. 
A local blogger named Lorenzo Delgado had been tipped off about a government-run warehouse in the southern city of Ponce, where hundreds of people have been left homeless by the recent temblors.  
The warehouse, it turned out, was filled with supplies; pallets of expired baby food expired water, blue tarps, gas stoves, diapers, cots, air mattresses, and sheets sat untouched, even as thousands continue to sleep outside in decimated communities. 
Delgado posted his findings on Facebook. The live stream almost immediately drew a large, unruly crowd to the warehouse. 
A handful of people eventually forced open the doors and began distributing the goods. 
In one video of the incident posted by Primera Hora, a man reads out the date on one of the water pallets: "October 14, 2017," he shouts. 
"While people were suffering after Maria, this place was full of water," another man can be overheard saying. Hurricane Maria struck the island on Sept. 16, 2017.
As the live images ricocheted across the Internet, people across the island grew irate. 
The head of the emergency management agency, Carlos Acevedo, issued a statement explaining that the supplies were being distributed and denied that the much-needed resources were going to waste. But his defense did not save him in the face of popular outrage.
Within hours, the island's governor fired him.
"There are thousands of people who have made sacrifices to bring help to the south and it is unforgivable that resources have been kept in a warehouse," Vázquez said. 
She added that Acevedo had mismanaged the government's supplies and failed the victims of Puerto Rico's earthquakes. 
The next day, Vázquez fired two more top officials in her cabinet — the Housing Secretary Fernando Gil and Department of Family Secretary Glorimar Andújar. 
Vázquez said the positions require public trust and that she had lost confidence in them. 
"They weren't able to personally tell me specifically where these [collection and distribution] centers were located, what they contained and whether an inventory was completed," she said, according to the Associated Press.
She also said the heads of agencies are responsible for informing the governor about the existence of available resources. 
The scandal erupted just days after the release of billions of dollars in aid from the Trump administration was announced last week. 
Image result for govt warehouse full of Emergency goods in PR
 This house in Puerto Rico Shows you the herculean effort for this family to fix their house. A well-constructed cement house on the ground floor that got inundated with water from the storm and the roof was also damaged. They decided to built on top and used the ground floor older hose to be their rock of salvation. The electric pole that was cut into pieces by the winds is now a thick cement pole on the right. I don't know if there is damaged to the house from the dozens of Earthquakes that hit the Island. I wish them the best...Adam

The federal funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development totaling $8.2 billion, had been delayed for months by Secretary Ben Carson. He argued more stringent financial oversight measures were needed before the disaster funds could be distributed. 
The same day, President Trump declared a "major disaster" in Puerto Rico because of the earthquakes and ordered additional federal assistance to help the island recover. 
The governor said she was not worried the latest firings would further delay the federal funds. 
But Vázquez's moves did little to quell the growing outcry. Activists organized an island-wide strike on Monday.
Protester Awilda Rodriguez Lora said the flurry of earthquakes that have struck the island over the last few weeks along with the warehouse incident has re-opened old wounds that have not fully healed.
"After the hurricane ... we pushed so hard to go back to this pseudo-normality," Rodriguez told NPR. But, "when you have another natural disaster, remembering how the government dealt with our people, it brings this fight or flight feeling." 
She added that people's indignation did not dissipate when Gov. Rosselló was forced out of office last summer. 
It remains present, simmering under the surface, she explained. And the warehouse incident has only served to ignite a new spark.

January 14, 2020

Millions of Puerto Ricans Wait To See If Trump is Going to F* Over The Island Again!




     

After Passing Paper Towels After hurricane Maria, Trump Passes Some food that some Puerto Ricans Cooked in an Outside kitchen but he wanted the shot maybe to say he was cooking now for the Island.




CBS


Millions of Puerto Ricans are waiting to see if President Donald Trump will sign a major disaster declaration to authorize much-needed aid. Four thousand people are still in shelters and many others are sleeping outside after yet another powerful earthquake.
5.9 magnitude earthquake shook southwestern Puerto Rico on Saturday just before 9 a.m. It was the strongest since last week's 6.4 quakes. More than 2,000 tremors have occurred since December 28.

Saturday's earthquake didn't injure or kill anyone, but there were landslides and damage to homes and businesses.
"You never know what could happen. Anything can just go just like this," said Praxides Rodriguez, snapping her fingers. "Love your family, appreciate them, you know, just thank God every day for what you have."
Rodriguez and her husband have been living in a tent in Guanica, one of the hardest hit areas. Many people there have set up camps at the top of a mountain because that's where they feel safest as aftershocks continue.
Rodriguez said she's okay, but hopes more help is coming for those less able to take care of themselves.
"We don't know how much longer we're going to be here," she told CBS News correspondent David Begnaud. "We have a lot of elderly that are really in bed, that can't even move out of bed."


UP CLOSE: A grandmother with Alzheimer's was in a bed in the front yard of her family's home, sunburned and sweating.

After a series of earthquakes in Puerto Rico, the family had no power, no water and couldn't find an ambulance. @DavidBegnaud reports: https://cbsn.ws/2QKczRy 


87 people are talking about this

Elizabeth Vanacore, with the Puerto Rico Seismic Network, warned residents that they should still expect "some aftershocks." The network has more than 20 sensors installed around the island to detect earthquake magnitude. 
Mr. Trump has not yet signed the major disaster declaration. The island also hasn't received more than $18 billion in federal funding that was designated after hurricanes that struck more than two years ago, according to the Washington Post
But, FEMA's top official in Puerto Rico, Alex Amparo, said they're not waiting.
"We've got our teams out in the field," he said. "The tremendous amount of mutual aid that's happening from the island, I'm sure you saw on your way here."
Traffic was backed up Sunday in the mountains of the hardest-hit regions as Puerto Ricans came from near and far to bring supplies to their neighbors in need. Since Hurricane Maria, many Puerto Ricans say they've learned they can't rely on the government in times of disaster.

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